Sometimes in the Middle of the Story

SOMETIMES IN THE MIDDLE OF THE STORY

for the drowned Africans of the Middle Passage

Sometimes in the middle of the story something
move outside the house, like
it could be the wind, but is not the wind
and the story-teller hesitate so slight
you hardly notice it, and the children
hold their breath and look at one another.
The old people say is Toussaint passing
on his grey horse Bel-Argent, moving
faster than backra-massa timepiece
know to measure, briefing the captains
setting science and strategy to trap the emperor.
But also that sound had something in it
of deep water, salt water, had ocean,
the sleep-sigh of a drowned African
turning in his sleep on the ocean floor,
and Toussaint horse was coming from far
his tail trailing the swish of the sea
from secret rendezvous, from councils of war
with those who never completed the journey,
and we below deck heard only the muffled
thud of scuffling feet, could only
guess the quick, fierce tussle, the
stifled gasp, the barrel-chests bursting
the bubbles rising and breaking, the blue
closing over. But their souls shuttle
still the forest paths of ocean
connecting us still the current unbroken
the circuits kept open, the tireless messengers,
the ebony princes of your lost Atlantis,
a power of black men rising from the sea.


from It Was the Singing (Sandberry Press, 2000), copyright © Edward Baugh 2000, used by permission of the author and the publisher.

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1Amadou's Mother

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2Black Sand

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3The Carpenter's Complaint

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4Choices

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5The Dark Hole in the Garden

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6Freeze Warning

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7Guinea-Hen Weed

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8It Was the Singing

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9I wish you a Leaf Falling

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10Nightwalker

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11A Nineteenth-Century Portrait

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12Obituary Page

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13Sometimes in the Middle of the Story

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14Telling the Time

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15Words

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17True Love

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18The Comings and Goings of Poems

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20Famous Evenings

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21For Simon Cole

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22Getting There

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23Hedge Trimming

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24Holy Fever

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25Home Truths

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26The House

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27Long Service Award

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28Memories Like Comfort Stones

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29Niigger Sweat

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30Out of Stock

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31People Poem (The Leader Speaks)

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32Pilot Boat

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33River Song

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34Running River Water

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35To the Editor Who Asked Me To Send Him Some of My Black Poems

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36Truth and Consequences

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37Walking to Jerusalem

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38What's Poetry For?

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39'When The Doomed Are Most Eloquent In Their Sinking'

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40You Ever Notice How

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41The Poet Bemused

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42An Open Letter to Feelings of Insecurity

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43The Warner Woman

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44Lignum Vitae

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